A fine Art Nouveau Spanish style comb decorated with a holly theme
CONDITION: good vintage condition with expected wear for age
SIZE: 5½ ins h x 3 ins w (14 x 7.5 cm) decorative part 3 ins h (7.5 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890-1900s
Here is a lovely Art Nouveau period hair comb made from tinted celluloid.
The ornament has a tall rectangular heading which is styled as a holly leaf surrounded by stylized berries. The use of motifs such as this is typical of a more popular class of Art Nouveau ornaments which were mass produced for the lower end of the market.
Christians consider holly symbolic of Jesus Christ in two ways. The red berries represent the blood that Jesus shed on the cross on the day he was crucified. A holly's pointed leaves symbolize the crown of thorns placed on Jesus' head before he died on the cross.
This type of ornament is often known as Spanish or mantilla comb because it resembles a smaller version of the traditional large shell ornaments worn by Spanish ladies with their native dress. In practice any comb which has a high upstanding heading or top which stands proud of the top of the head is often called a mantilla comb. Such combs are worn placed high on the head in order to allow the beauty of their ornamental cresting to be admired.
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Art Nouveau celluloid hair comb with holly leaf design
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